Gaza mourns Vittorio Arrigoni

on 18 Comments

I do not know Vittorio Arrigoni in person, but me tears and heart do. Thousands of Gazans cried over his tragic and untimely death. Many, appalled by the crime, are still trying to make sense of what happened. Nothing makes sense. It was a murder that shocked Gaza. One glance at google pictures will show that this courageous man not only was very prof-Palestinian but also was helping Palestinians more than we Palestinians can help ourselves. Who in Gaza would not mourn the man who we saw on every boat and every vessel defying Israeli naval siege? Who did not see Vittorio participating in popular protests against Israeli buffer zones near Gaza borders? How many of us, Palestinians, held Palestinian flag protesting Israeli occupation and inhumane measures against us? Vittorio did. Who did not cross his or her fingers when he was kidnapped by the Israeli navy and injured by the Israeli occupation forces for helping the people of Gaza? One word only was repeated in the previous questions: Israel. Yes, the Israeli occupation is the only party benefiting from the willful murder of this freedom activist. 

(Credit: Carlos Latuff)

The timing, which comes days before Flotilla II, and the irreparable damage the crime did to Gaza and the Palestinians tell of the Israeli Mossad hand lurking behind the doers. For Israel, the best way to prevent a second encounter with a freedom fleet is to scare the participants way. Imagine how many people will either in fear or in protest stop joining the flotilla. But that is a secondary issue now, for Vittorio is gone. Also imagine how many articles will be written to prove that the people of Gaza are a bunch of bigots who do not deserve a helping hand let alone sacrificing one’s life for. But does that matter? For Vittorio is no more. Imagine how much damage this act of barbarity does to the image of Gaza. Yet that is not the concern, for Vittorio is dead.

Gaza alone will pay for the premature death of comrade Vittorio. Gaza alone will suffer the dire consequences. Gaza alone will have to bear the responsibility. The question every Gazan is asking now is what have those people who did this done to resist the Israeli occupation? Nil, zilch, nada, nothing. Does not that cast doubts on their agendas and goals; while they caused the death of many Palestinians, the Israeli occupation remains and untouched by this handful of extremists.

But still could the murderers have done it? They did. Did they plan it themselves? I doubt it.  Vittorio’s death means one thing: the death sentence for the killers. The clash between this group and Hamas government in 2008 proves that Hamas will not have mercy upon anyone who tries to disturb the (already shaken) security of Gaza. They have learnt the lesson the hard way. And another stupid mistake like killing an innocent Italian activist who left his home and family behind to help is the final blow for those people. Everyone in Gaza knows that. And the criminals are too. By so doing, they are either too stupid to see their end coming or so blinded that they were tricked into a mistake that will be their last.

The only people smiling now are the Israeli politicians and Mossad agents. But we say to the world that there is a huge difference between Palestinians and Israel. The killings of foreign journalists and activists by Israel were both systematic and premeditated and done by the Israeli army establishment. No one was brought to justice. In Gaza, the doers of this shameful event are very few and do not represent the Palestinian people. And we are sure they will be brought to justice and punish accordingly. Or else we will be like the rogue state of Israel. No one can forget Israeli long history of killing and attacking journalists and peace activists such as Rachel Corrie, James Miller, Raffaele Ciriello, the flotilla activists and others.

Now as Gazans and friends of Vittorio Arrigoni, we demand the government of Gaza to

1-      Bring the doers to justice and punish them. And yes, we use the death penalty in Gaza.

2-      Apologise for his family and the Italian people on behalf of the people of Palestine

3-      Name a street after Vittorio

4-      Name a school after him

5-      Declare a day of mourning

6-      Grant Vittorio a Palestinian nationality

While that will show how much we care and how much Vittorio means to Gazans, it will not compensate us or his family or his friends for the loss of a great man, a man who stood bare-chested in front of the Israeli machine guns, a man who was beaten and arrested by Israelis for the sake of Gaza, a man who loved Gaza and whom Gaza will never forget.

Vittorio Arrigoni , We are sorry. Italy, we are sorry. Italians, we are sorry. Free people of the world, Gaza is sorry. Everyone will make sure this thing does not happen again. We won’t rest until those criminals are brought to justice. And we promise not to let a handful of misguided fanatics determine the future and destiny of Gaza until Gaza is free.

Refaat Alareer is a teacher of English Literature and creative writing at the Islamic University-Gaza. He blogs at

18 Responses

  1. seafoid
    April 15, 2011, 10:59 am

    “Did they plan it themselves? I doubt it.”

    Me too. One week after Juliano Mer Khamis. I just don’t buy it.
    A very good article that said what needs to be said. And the handala cartoon by Latuff is superb.

  2. GuiltyFeat
    April 15, 2011, 11:06 am

    “The only people smiling now are the Israeli politicians and Mossad agents.”

    Vile. Simply vile to be spreading lies and propaganda following such a tragedy.

    You have no evidence and a heart filled with hate.

    • seafoid
      April 15, 2011, 11:26 am

      Settler trash are already milking it

      link to

      • GuiltyFeat
        April 15, 2011, 11:50 am

        So this poster is as bad as settler trash? Not a comparison I would’ve thought you’d make, seafoid.

      • Theo
        April 15, 2011, 12:20 pm

        GF, “heart filled with hate”.

        Even as a school boy I got into trouble with a teacher, because I stood up for a student who was mistreated by him. That idea followed me during the many years a lived, help the weaker.

        My heart wined for the jews mishandled and killed by the nazis. The vietnami civilians who were burned, tortured and killed by our soldiers. The iraqis, who were bombarded, maimed and killed for our imperalistic plans. And not least, the palestinians, who for 63 years are treated like animals by the same people who were treated the same by the nazis.
        Is that all you learned from your ordeal, how to abuse and kill other human beings?

        You should be ashamed of yourselves. As you condemn the whole german nation for doing what they did, to right, we must condemn you for exactly the same brutal torture and killing, regardless if you actively doing it or you just look the other way.
        GF, sooner or later you will pay terribly for all those crimes you zionists commited against humanity. The germans still pay for their crimes, how long must you do the same?

      • seafoid
        April 15, 2011, 12:31 pm

        I think you are all to be pitied, TBH.
        Hasbara is a sickness. Where is your tikkun olam ?

      • demize
        April 15, 2011, 2:25 pm

        Yes, collectively all they learned, how to relish being the ones brandishing the crop. Or to translate into ziospeak “not take any shit”…from those weaker than yourself. To be the bully is what this ideology has brought to the Jewish People. Indeed unfortunate that trauma isn’t always enobling. In fact it can bring out.the most base in people.

      • GuiltyFeat
        April 17, 2011, 12:13 am

        Blah blah ziospeak blah.

        “The only people smiling now are the Israeli politicians and Mossad agents.”

        Please provide evidence instead of lies.

  3. annie
    April 15, 2011, 11:12 am

    thank you Refaat, it means so much to me you have written this for us to read. my heart is just aching.

    please do not believe we are all so stupid or naive as to think “the people of Gaza are a bunch of bigots who do not deserve a helping hand let alone sacrificing one’s life for”. please just do not go there for that will not be the outcome of this. and please do not ever feel, no matter how alone or isolated you think you are, that “Gaza alone will suffer the dire consequences” because we all must suffer from the loss of this wonderful man and the consequences of gaza is a consequence that weighs heavily on our souls and on mankind.

    and please do not believe for even one minute it will stop us from coming because it will not. i am on a waiting list for the flotilla along with many many more and i have not heard of one person who has removed their name. i only hear they are trying to get a bigger boat to carry more of us.

    we won’t stop Refaat, i promise you we will not for gaza is our burden and our responsibility. if world government bodies will not break this blockade then the citizens of the world will keep trying on our little boats and we will not be deterred.

    hold strong dear gazans for the winds are at our backs and we will not be afraid.

    thank you so much again and it is with tears i write this.

    6- Granting Vittorio the Palestinian nationality

    yes, i already called him a gazan once this morning. he’s a global citizen, an italian, a gazan and a palestinian.

    RIP brave Vittorio.

  4. bijou
    April 15, 2011, 12:13 pm

    Vittorio had a blog, for any Italian speakers.

    Guerilla Radio

  5. eee
    April 15, 2011, 12:22 pm

    What blockade?
    Seriously, humanitarian aid you want brought into Gaza you can bring to Rafah port and it will be brought into Gaza, bypassing Israel completely.

    • Sumud
      April 15, 2011, 12:43 pm

      What is ‘Rafah port’ eee? I wasn’t aware Rafah (not being on the coast) had a port. How could goods be brought from ‘Rafah port’ to ‘into Gaza’ when Rafah is already in the Gaza Strip?

    • annie
      April 15, 2011, 12:47 pm

      we want more than that eee. we want to look into their eyes and share normal moments and human contact with them. israel wants them alone and isolated. we know they are part of the world. we need them and they need us. no man is an island tho israel wants gazans to be all alone and wants us to fear them. you can hear this on their supporters blog posts. you can hear it in their hasbara.

      gazans can’t even visit members of their own families in the WB or anywhere for that matter. they live in a jail, it is collective punishment and it is inhumane. so do not tell me we can send them stuff thru rafah. why should we? it is their coastline. it doesn’t belong to israel.

      • unverified__c8k32694
        April 15, 2011, 1:56 pm

        At the moment, no coast line is owned by the Palestinian people. Therefore, it is not their coastline. Try again.

      • annie
        April 15, 2011, 2:17 pm

        no coast line is owned by the Palestinian people

        wow, you don’t say. they own nothing as far as israel is concerned so wft.

        as far as ‘trying again’ you can have the last word. you’re not worth it.

  6. Leigh
    April 15, 2011, 1:47 pm

    I can’t write much, I can’t bear it, I’m already crying.

    I met Vik in Gaza and got to know him fairly well. He carried me away from the border one day when I clumsily twisted my ankle while trying to run away from IDF soldiers that were shooting at unarmed protesters. He bravely turned around under fire especially to come and get me.

    He lived for people, and identified intensely with those that suffered. He dedicated his life to the Palestinian campaign for rights. I’m almost sure that he was given Palestinian citizenship after the 2008 boat trip to Gaza. But the street name idea is a great one.

    RIP, Vik, we’ll miss you. Your name will be added to the long list of people to pay tribute to the day the Palestinians win their dignity and rights.

  7. Lydda Four Eight
    April 15, 2011, 5:19 pm

    interesting choice of music on this video, the music comes from the hymn, Man of Sorrows -What a Name!

  8. Avi
    April 15, 2011, 11:24 pm

    I extend my condolences to Vittorio Arrigoni’s family, friends, and colleagues. It is a sad day when a person who follows his convictions and ideals loses his life in the process. Vittorio was a man of principle and compassion. He was not born into Gaza, nor was he forced to go to Gaza. He chose to go to Gaza and for that he deserves to be recognized for the beautiful soul that he was.

    Your hard work was not in vain and your altruistic contribution to making the lives of others better will always be remembered.

    May you rest in peace, Vittorio.

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